After starting in the twelfth position in the Miami Grand Prix, George Russell thinks he "lucked out" when a Safety Car enabled him finish fifth.
Russell's unusually lengthy opening stint on the hard tyres allowed him to progressively advance through the field as drivers in front of him stopped until he was in fifth place, the highest-running driver without a pit stop.
Russell was on the back straight entering the pit lane when Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris crashed, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car. This allowed him to instantly stop for new medium tires and rejoin the race in seventh place, behind teammate Lewis Hamilton. Russell finally passed Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to finish sixth when the Safety Car was deployed and the race was eventually resumed.
Russell states that he and Mercedes opted to stretch his first stint for as long as possible in the hopes that a Safety Car intervention would let them to pit and gain track position.
"I believe it was quite lucky," Russell concedes. "When such occurrences occur, you appear quite brilliant. However, this is the case when utilizing an offset method.
"We had covered P7. There was no use in pitting; we could as well have stayed out there and hoped something similar would occur, and today we were fortunate."
Russell lost three positions on the opening lap due to the fact that he began the race on hard tires while those behind him were on mediums. "Those initial laps were quite difficult," he explained. "On the first lap, I was fully engulfed, and I realized I had to avoid danger."
He crossed the finish line in fifth position, ahead of Hamilton. Russell has now completed all five races of the 2022 season within the top five positions. Russell said "yes and no" when asked if fifth and sixth are the highest spots Mercedes can currently hope for.
He stated, "Five and six is where we ought to be." "Clearly, we have likely underperformed at a number of circuits, particularly on Saturdays, which makes things tough for us.
"Nevertheless, this weekend is where we've showed the greatest promise. However, we still have a long way to go."